The Delia Project (#58 ) Chinese Stir-Fried Green Vegetables

The Delia Smith Project: Chinese Stir-Fry Green Vegetables

I love stir-fried vegetables at Chinese restaurants. Everything is so bright and colourful, with just the right amount of crunchiness. Unfortunately, I still can’t pull this off at home. Something always browns too much on the bottom of the pan and some veggies wilt, whilst others are too crunchy.

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The Delia Project (#57 ) Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil

The Delia Smith Project: Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil

This really is a nice soup and very easy to make. And… I discovered that if you add a good splash of coconut milk in the bowl right before serving, it creates a beautifully creamy tomato soup that is heads above a can of Heinz. Definitely on the list to make again!

Here’s a link to Fresh Tomato Soup with Basil on the ‘I Love. I Cook. I Bake’ blog. Next time I may also try Delia Smith’s recipe for Roasted Tomato Soup.

The Delia Project (#56 ) Perfect Rice

The Delia Smith Project: Perfect Rice

This is probably the simplest recipe in the book – about from the description on how to hard boil an egg – but the thing is, I have owned a rice cooker for the past 10 years or so, which always cooks my rice to perfection for me. And the last time I cooked rice in a saucepan was… hmmm… too long ago to remember. Considering the reason I bought a rice cooker was because my rice was always either waterlogged or stuck to the bottom of the pan, I thought maybe it was time to go back to basics.

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A pony cake

Pony Birthday Cake - Making the shape

When Munchkin #1 said she wanted a pony cake for her birthday, I immediately Googled ‘how to make horse birthday cake’ to see if it was something that was remotely possible for me to do, as I’m by no means an experienced birthday cake baker!

Then I found this excellent tutorial for a horse birthday cake, complete with template and thought I’d give it a go.

I baked one round and one square cake the day before I needed them for the birthday party. I chilled them first a little in the fridge, then cut them as shown on the template. Next step was to crumb coat the cake, then back in the fridge for 30 minutes to set a little.

Before I went to bed, I iced the entire cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting (and ate probably a good 1/4 cup of icing while I was doing it – it helps me concentrate 🙂 ). It looked more like a kangaroo than a horse at that stage, but I was hoping that the decorations would fix that!

The next day I got creative with silver balls, smarties, marzipan and my Kuhn Rikon icing set (again eating a good 1/4 cup of icing while I was doing it – it helps me to be even more creative 😉 ). By the time I put the mane on, it looked less like a kangaroo and more like a pony.

The girls at the party argued over who was going to eat the ears, one wanted the nose, another the gold buckle. I had to make a cut in the middle of the head so that one girl could eat the eye. So I think it worked out well.

Horse Birthday Cake

The Delia Project (#53) Breakfast Baps

The Delia Smith Project: Breakfast Baps

If you’re looking for a really soft, white roll that is perfect for hamburgers or simply filling like a sandwich, these are the bread rolls for you. They are wonderfully soft – did I mention that already?

Now that I’ve made a few bread recipes from Delia, I wonder why I ever bought things like bread rolls. For kneading, the dough hook on my food mixer will do most of the work. Then it’s a matter of leaving the dough sit in a warm place for an hour or so, divide it into equal bun-shaped pieces, prove it a little more, then bake! Most rolls only take 10 or so minutes in the oven so it’s only the rising and proving that takes a little time. Then any rolls that aren’t eaten within a day or two are frozen, so next time I already have them handy.

The Delia Project (#52) Plain White Bread

The Delia Smith Project: Plain White Bread

Oh dear, my first recipe fail! It was all going so well… until it went in the oven. I always forget that I should make my oven temperature 10-20 degrees lower than what is stated in the recipe. And I also forget that I should never bake anything while we’re eating dinner, when it’s too easy to forget to take a peek every now and then.

Never mind, apparently the consensus was that it was very good for sandwiches and since the Munchkins don’t eat their crusts anyway, the burnt bit was no great drama.

Here is Delia Smith’s recipe for Plain and Simple White Bread, with photos of what mine should have looked like 🙂